During our expedition to Mt. Banahaw the botanists and entomologists were able to take a small break to tour the annual harvest festival in the nearby city of Lucban. The tradition is to decorate your house with plants of the harvest, especially rice and coconuts but also many other plants. There is a competition and a large sum of money for first place. The botanists enjoyed identifying the plants that the entomologists were busily consuming from the street vendors.
The festival is the feast day of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of the city.
Here's a house decorated in colored eggs. The "paper" lantern to the left is made of a dried rice, which can later be fried and eaten.
How many vegetables can you recognize in this decoration?
Charles Griswold, Hannah Wood, and Vanessa Knutson enjoying the festival.
Some entomologists pollinating one of the festival flowers!
A sunflower decoration made of coconuts, pandanus, an epiphytic fern, and a rice sifter.
More vegetables! There are coconuts, white radishes, tomatoes, cheyote (in the cucumber family), rice, bird's nest fern, and others.
- Vanessa eating pancit “hab hab”, the local noodle dish traditionally eaten without utensils from a banana leaf.
We had heard that Medinilla magnifica, a spectacular flowering plant in the princess flower family (Melastomataceae) was cut and displayed in the festival. Nowadays it seems that only stylized rice paper versions of the plant are used.
This is the real Medinilla magnifica, which we found growing in the type locality (that is, where it was originally found) at Mt. Makiling.